Get $5 off your pre-order of THE READER'S ADVISORY GUIDE TO HORROR THIRD EDITION. Click here and enter RAGH21 at checkout. Works with your ALA Member Discount also.


I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Friday, April 16, 2021

RA for All Roadshow Visits Reaching Forward [Yesterday and Today]

Yesterday and today was Part 1 of the Illinois Library Association's Reaching Forward conference

"Part 1?" you ask. Just like many things in our world these days Reaching Forward had to pivot and it looks a little different now.

Let me back up a bit though because the history and mission behind the entire Reaching Forward conference is important to share, especially because not all of you live here in IL.

Reaching Forward is a long standing conference for library workers. While professional librarians won't be turned away, this is a conference that is always focused on and geared toward everyone BUT the librarians at a library. I love that we have this conference and have been a supporter of it for many years.

It also used to be presented as two distinct and unconnected conferences, one called Reaching Forward South and the other just Reaching Forward but presented in Rosemont [next to O'Hare Airport]. Last year, I was invited to RF South in person and was going to present 4 sessions [1 for each time slot]. I was excited to work with my colleagues further south. However, that conference set for Spring 2020 was cancelled. I agreed to contribute to whatever form it took for 2021 immediately.

Well, that form is what we began yesterday when I presented RA for All: Flip the Script and Think Like a Reader and Booktalking Your Way to the Friendliest Library in Town and will continue this morning when I offer Demystifying Genre and Actively Anti-Racist Library Service to Leisure Readers.

I am a bit embarrassed as it looks like I took over the conference, but I am also excited. All 4 programs are updated and the last one is BRAND NEW. It is part of the work I am doing with Robin Bradford as outline here. 

And then there is still the RF Part 2. That is on May 7th, the date when the Reaching Forward near Chicago would have taken place in person. This is also part of that new form. The organizers of Reaching Forward who use to put on separate conferences, have combined forces and are offering all 3 days of content for only $50.  It is one of those good things to come from the pandemic and I hope this unification sticks into the future.

My presentation for May 7th is also brand new: Peek Behind the Admin Curtain: Trustee Secrets All Library Staff Need To Know with Joe Filapck. Details on that program are here. But I will have slides and more about that program on May 7th. For now, you can use the links above to access the slides for my 4 presentations over the last 2 days no matter where you live.

In fact, you can also follow the conference and see what we were talking about yesterday, today, and on May 7th on Twitter with #RFIllinois2021.

And if you want me to come to your virtual state library conference, it is easier [and cheaper] than ever because I can do it from my living room. Contact me for rates, programs offered, and availability. I am also starting to be asked to attend some possible in person events this fall. I will be fully vaccinated by next week and I am entertaining offers to appear in person beginning in September. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

LibraryReads: May 2021

It's LibraryReads day and that means four things here on RA for All

  1. I post the list and tag it “Library Reads” so that you can easily pull up every single list with one click.
  2. I can remind you that even though the newest list is always fun to see, it is the older lists where you can find AWESOME, sure bet suggestions for patrons that will be on your shelf to actually hand to them right now. The best thing about LibraryReads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips through this archive OR the sortable master list allowing you to mix and match however you want.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any LibraryReads titles because there is a book talk right there in the list in the form of the annotation one of your colleagues wrote for you. All you have to say to your patron is, “such and such library worker in blank state thought this was a great read,” and then you read what he or she said.
  4. Every upcoming book now has at least 1 readalike that is available to hand out RIGHT NOW. Book talk the upcoming book, place a hold for it, and then hand out that readalike title for while they wait. If they need more titles before their hold comes in, use the readalike title to identify more readalike titles. And then keep repeating. Seriously, it is that easy to have happy, satisfied readers.
So get out there and suggest a good read to someone today. I don’t care what list or resource you use to find the suggestion, just start suggesting books.

Please remember to click here for everything you need to know about how to participate. Click here to see a database of eligible diverse titles sorted by month.

And finally, here is LibraryReads' extremely helpful Resources page.

Now let's get to that list.... 


Announcing the May 2021 LibraryReads List!

People We Meet On Vacation 

by Emily Henry

Berkley Jove

“An aching slow-burn romance focused on chaotic sprite Poppy and buttoned up Alex and their twelve years of summer vacations. Set in present day Palm Springs and interspersed with flashbacks from the previous vacations, this story is full of yearning, friendship, and discussions of what it means to find a home. For fans of This Time Next Year, One Day in December, and Waiting for Tom Hanks.”

—Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, WI 
NoveList read-alike: Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Arsenic and Adobo 

by Mia P. Manansala

Berkley Prime Crime

“This fast-paced, cozy mystery with a diverse and colorful cast will make you laugh, cringe, and salivate. Lila has returned home to help with the family's failing Filipino restaurant, which is repeatedly panned by her food blogger ex. When he comes to lunch and ends up face down in his dessert, Lila becomes the prime murder suspect. For readers who enjoyed Dial A for Aunties and Mimi Lee Gets a Clue.”

—Laura Eckert, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH
NoveList read-alike: A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette

The Bookshop of Second Chances: A Novel 

by Jackie Fraser

Ballantine Books

“Nothing like turning a page in an upended life to find a surprising plot twist leading to a satisfying ending. That’s what readers will find in this charming novel. The power of books to soothe will attract bibliophiles, but stay for the lively banter of the romantic leads, the quirky local residents, and the brisk Scottish countryside. Perfect for fans of Evvie Drake Starts Over and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.”

—Kaite Stover, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO
NoveList read-alike: How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

The Guncle 

by Steven Rowley

G.P. Putnam's Sons

"Gay Uncle Patrick," a reclusive TV star, takes in his niece and nephew for the summer after the death of their mother, his dear friend. As the three navigate their grief together, Patrick finds he needs the kids as much as they need him. By turns funny and poignant, this heartwarming story is great for fans of actor (and Instagram fave) Leslie Jordan and for readers who like Fredrik Backman.”

—Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC
NoveList read-alike: The Family Man by Elinor Lipman

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island 

by Colleen Oakley


“Anders, a journalist, is sent to Frick Island to cover a Cake Walk, where he meets Piper, a widow who behaves as if her husband had never died. The strangest thing is, the entire island goes along with this delusion, and Anders, who is smitten with Piper, is determined to find out why. For fans of The Story of Arthur Truluv and The Garden of Small Beginnings.”

—Aubrey Parker, Montgomery County Memorial Library, Conroe, TX
NoveList read-alike: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Mary Jane: A Novel 

by Jessica Anya Blau

Custom House

"It’s 1975 and Mary Jane takes a job babysitting while all her friends are away at summer camp. The job comes with exposure to a celebrity and her addicted rock star husband and Mary Jane experiences a world very different than her own. For readers who enjoyed Be Frank with Me, Nothing to See Here, and This Tender Land."

—Jan Fisher, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT
NoveList read-alike: About a Boy by Nick Hornby

The Newcomer: A Novel 

by Mary Kay Andrews

St. Martin's Press

"Letty is on the run with her four-year-old niece, afraid she will be accused of her sister’s murder. She ends up at a beach front motel in Florida full of interesting and entertaining characters. Murder, fugitives, romance, and a great cast of characters. A perfect beach read. For readers who enjoy books by Elin Hildenbrand and Janet Evanovich."

—Sandy Ruhmann, Allen Park Public Library, Allen Park, MI
NoveList read-alike: Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Talk Bookish to Me: A Novel 

by Kate Bromley

Graydon House

"A must-read romance novel, this enemies to lovers contemporary romance has enough tension and sizzle to satisfy any romance reader. Bonus, the lead character is a romance writer and readers get a romance novel within a romance novel. For readers who loved Much Ado About You and The Invitation."

—Hannah Spratt, New York Public Library, New York, NY
NoveList read-alike: The Things We Leave Unfinished by Rebecca Yarros

While Justice Sleeps: A Novel 

by Stacey Abrams


"Avery's boss is a Supreme Court Justice and he is currently in a coma after naming Avery (instead of his wife) as his guardian. This situation is further complicated by the fact that the judge is a swing vote in a very important decision before the court. How well Avery knows her boss will determine the fate of both of them. For readers of John Grisham and Robert Dugoni."

—Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Public Library, Austin, TX
NoveList read-alike: Paper Gods by Goldie Taylor

The Woman with the Blue Star: A Novel 

by Pam Jenoff

Park Row

"Based on the true stories of Jewish families who utilized the sewers to escape persecution during WWII. Sadie struggles to come to terms with loss. Ella struggles to figure out where she fits in amidst the chaos. Their friendship brings them hope and purpose. For readers who enjoyed The Rose Code, Our Darkest Night."

—Kate Eminhizer, Pamunkey Regional Library, Hanover, VA
NoveList read-alike: Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

The LibraryReads Hall of Fame designation honors authors who have had multiple titles appear on the monthly LibraryReads list since 2013. When their third title places on the list via library staff votes, the author moves into our Hall of Fame.


Hour of the Witch: A Novel

by Chris Bohjalian


“In Puritan New England, Mary Deerfield is trapped in a marriage with a violent man. She has the audacity to file for divorce in a time where women were accused of witchcraft for any perceived slight or behavior. This book is filled with strong women and speaks to the witch hunts of today.”

—Lisa Casper, Douglas County Libraries, Highlands Ranch, CO
Read-alike: The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Berry
Read-alike: The Witches by Stacy Schiff

How to Find a Princess: Runaway Royals

by Alyssa Cole


“Billed as a queer retelling of Anastasia, a long-lost princess falls for the investigator who tracks her down. This full-length f/f romance from Cole, the latest in her delightful Runaway Royals series, makes for a fun read.”

—Annabelle Mortensen, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, IL
Read-alike: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Read-alike: Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Local Woman Missing: A Novel

by Mary Kubica

Park Row

“A kidnapped child, two dead women, affairs, secrets, and a malpractice suit seem like a lot to pack into one book, but Kubica skillfully weaves the plot to create a perfect level of intrigue in this twisty suspense tale."

—Sandra Woodbury, Burlington Public Library, Burlington MA
Read-alike: Dear Child by Romy Housmann 
Read-alike: The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

Project Hail Mary: A Novel

by Andy Weir

Ballantine Books

“Ryland Grace wakes up alone on a spaceship with amnesia. Gradually he remembers being on a one- way journey to save Earth from a dying sun. Then he encounters Rocky, an engineer on a similar mission. Hard to put down and impossible to forget, this is ingenious science fiction to celebrate and share."

— Brenda O’Brien, Woodridge Public Library, Woodridge, IL
Read-alike: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
Read-alike: The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Soulmate Equation

by Christina Lauren

Gallery Books

“A statistician and geneticist are an unlikely match in a DNA-based dating app in this latest breezy romance from Lauren. What follows is sure to pull on readers’ heartstrings and even get them interested in the science of genetics.”

—Melissa Stumpe, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, IN
Read-alike: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
Read-alike: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Using Awards Lists as a RA Tool: Hugo Awards Edition

This is part of my ongoing series on using Awards Lists as a RA tool. Click here for all posts in the series in reverse chronological order. Click here for the first post which outlines the details how to use awards lists as a RA tool.

This week the Hugo Award Finalists were announced. The Hugo Award and the Nebula Award are the two most prestigious awards in Speculative Fiction, but it is important to note the difference in how each are chosen. The Nebulas are the official award of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association. Much like the Bram Stoker Awards for which I am a voter, this award is voted on by the professional writers. While the Hugo Awards are nominated by and chosen by those that have signed up to attend WorldCon each year. That grouping of people is a mix of writers and fans. [Click here to see the full explanation of the process.]

For this reason, I tend to go to the Hugos first as a resource for the casual Speculative Fiction reader and the Nebula first for the more seasoned reader. Now to be fair, they tend to have overlapping finalists, and this year is an example of that. [You can click here to see the Nebula Finalists announced in March]. 

Side note: the finalists for both awards in the novel category are all women!

The Hugo also has a more reader focused view of the genre as a result of its process. These categories are useful as we help readers, for displays, and collection development. Here are a few examples:

  • There is a category for best series and one for new writers. This second one gives the authors 3 years of eligibility and it is great place to identify emerging writers for our collections and our readers.
  • Best Editor in long form and short form is also a category. They do not give an anthology award like other Speculative Fiction awards. As you can see here in my post about how an editor can serve as a readalike suggestion tool, I think this is a valuable resource as we serve leisure readers.
  • Separating out long form and short form media is invaluable to us as we suggest movies vs TV shows to readers.
  • There are numerous fan based categories.

This is just a sampling of why this award is useful as a resource. Check out the full list of current Hugo Award nominees here.

And finally, like all of my favorite awards lists that I use as a resource, the Hugo Awards make backlist access very easy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Resource Alert: Crash Course on Gentle Reads and Access to All LibraryReads--NoveList Free Genre Training Programs

Coming April 21st-- the next FREE webinar in the NoveList and LibraryReads "Crash Courses." This time is all about "Gentle Reads." You can click here or see below to sign up.

But I also wanted to use this reminder about the newest webinar to remind you that there are many useful "Crash Courses" all ready for your viewing and use at any time. Click here to access every single one.

These are the best genre training tools available for the general, American library worker. I am not exaggerating either. With each 60 min course you will be able to get yourself up to speed on a popular reading category, its key appeal terms, themes, trends, authors, and titles.

So first, sign up for Gentle Reads [whether you can make it or not so you get a reminder of the recording] and then head over to the archive of past courses via the NoveList blog.

Also check out the LibraryReads Resources page for more free and useful RA Training.

Below is a re-post of the Gentle Reads Crash Course information via NoveList's blog:

Do you have a go-to strategy for helping readers with gentle reads? Whether your readers are fans of likeable ensemble casts or heartwarming stories about characters coming home again — let NoveList and LibraryReads break down the best gentle fiction has to offer your readers — from tests of faith to life in small towns. 

Join as they cover: 

  • Why readers choose gentle reads 
  • History of gentle reads fiction  
  • Classics, new titles/authors to watch, and awards to know   
  • Subgenres and crossovers 
  • NoveList insider information on genre headings, themes, appeal terms, and more 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 
2-3 pm Eastern 
Optional NoveList training from 3-3:15pm Eastern 

Kaite Stover is the Director of Readers' Services for The Kansas City Public Library. She holds Master's degrees in Library Science and English Literature from Emporia State University. Stover is the co-editor of The Readers' Advisory Handbook (ALA Editions 2010) with Jessica E. Moyer. From 2004-2016, Stover wrote the "He Reads, She Reads" column for Booklist with David Wright and wrote, "Under the Radar" for Public Libraries from 2012-2017. Stover is a founding member and former Steering Committee member for LibraryReads. During the pandemic, Kaite read and listened to far more books than she thought possible, failed to learn how to use an InstaPot, and walked streets in her neighborhood she never knew existed. Follow her on Twitter @MarianLiberryan and Instagram @KaiteStover. 

After working in public libraries for 13 years, Lindsey Dunn now writes and edits feature-length readers' advisory articles for youth, all the while discovering what books she will add to her to-be-read pile. Her passion projects at work include tracking Books to Movies/Books to TV, discovering books by Caribbean and Indigenous authors, and keeping up with Christian fiction trends. She has served as a Christy Awards Judge since 2017 and is an advocate for diversity initiatives in libraries. 

Moderator Halle Eisenman leads the Editorial Content Team which oversees the creation of the lists, articles, book discussion guides, and all the other amazing and informative content you can find in NoveList. Prior to working at NoveList, she spent a dozen years working for a public library system in a variety of roles, but no matter what her job title, her favorite part of any day was suggesting books to patrons. When not at work, Halle can often be found walking her dogs (they get lots of exercise when she’s listening to a particularly riveting audiobook), binge-watching TV shows aimed at teenagers, baking, or sitting on her back porch with a book. She is currently serving as Chair of the RUSA CODES Reading List Council.  

Monday, April 12, 2021

Summer Scares 2021 Programming Guide Available Now!

The wait is over and the program is about to kick into high gear. Today, we announce the Summer Scares 2021 Programming Guide. 

Quick reminder, Summer Scares is a reading program that provides professionally vetted Horror titles for all ages that libraries can use with confidence in their Summer Reading Plans in particular and all year long in general. It is brought to you by the Horror Writers Association, Book Riot, Booklist and United for Libraries with promotional assists from The Ladies of the Fright Podcast and The Springfield-Greene County Library whose staff have put together the programming guide. Speaking of the guide....

Click here or on the cover of this PDF above. This guide is completely free. 100%. Always. You can access the guide and other marketing materials and information about Summer Scares on the resource page. You can also access the archive there and use last year's guide. Since we use backlist [but not too old] titles, previous guides are just as useful as this year's. 

Each book gets its own page in the guide. I have included a screen shot of the page for Kathe Koja's The Cipher below as an example of what has been created for each book.

In particular, I am a big fan of the "Booktalk This Book" section because it means you don't have to have read the book to hand-sell it to readers.

Get people excited about Horror RIGHT NOW as we are approaching the "Halfway to Halloween" point [April 30]. Between this year and last year's guides and the read-alikes for each title, you can fill an entire display for all ages of readers in minutes.

You can even use our art. Click here to download the logo. Or print out the PDF and use the cover on your display. 

Stay tuned for more Summer Scares information coming soon. Sign up for the 5th Annual HWA Librarians' Day to see the debut of three pre-taped panels with our Summer Scares 2021 authors. Those will also be put up on the HWA's YouTube page for free on 5/23 after StokerCon ends. Libraries can use these recorded panels to show to their patrons if they would like. They would be especially useful paired with a book discussion of the books and a virtual appearance by one of our authors.

This guide and Horror in general, is a great tool all year long.

And please remember, as I always say.... Your Horror readers are not monsters; they just like to read about them. Not get out there and start the haunting.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

The #HorrorForLibraries Giveaway Celebrates Its First Year and National Poetry Month.

It's #HorrorForLibraries Giveaway day over on the horror blog. But today is a special one too. It has been almost an entire year since I began this giveaway, which in and of itself a feat, but also, I began this endeavor with a horror poetry collection since it was April and National Poetry Month. That book was A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng. Click here for my review.

Flash forward a year and A Collection of Dreamscapes is a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for best poetry collection. This clearly did not surprise me based on my review.

And today, to celebrate a year of these giveaways, National Poetry Month, and the upcoming Bram Stoker Awards ceremony [which is free to all on 5/22 here and I am getting some hardware during the ceremony so you are going to want to watch], I am giving away another book by one of the nominees. This time a poetry collection by Cynthia Pelayo. Details below but first...

Here is a refresher on the basic rules to enter:

  1. You need to be affiliated with an American public library. My rationale behind that is that I will be encouraging you to read these books and share them with patrons. While many of them are advanced reader copies that you cannot add to your collections, if you get the chance to read them, my hope is that you will consider ordering a copy for your library and give away the ARC away as a prize or pass it on to a fellow staff member.
  2. If you are interested in being included in any giveaway at any time, you must email me at zombiegrl75 [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject line "#HorrorForLibraries." In the body of the email all you have to say is that you want to be entered and the name of your library.
  3. Each entry will be considered for EVERY giveaway. I will randomly draw a winner on Fridays sometime after 5pm central. But only entries received by 5pm each week will be considered for that  week. I use and have a member of my family witness the "draw"based off your number in the Google Sheet.
  4. If you win, you are ineligible to win again for 4 weeks; you will have to re-enter after that time to be considered [I have a list of who has won, when, and what title]. However, if you do not win, you carry over into the next week. There is NO NEED to reenter.
Click here to see giveaway #37. Our winner was Kate from Woodford County [KY] Library.

Now to this week's giveaway with a review. 

Into The Forest And All The Way Through by Cynthia Pelayo is a striking, thought provoking, and social justice focused poetry collection; in fact those are my official "three words," but it is also devastating, haunting, and necessary. 
It exists in a terrifying space where nonfiction and lyricism collide. 

The concept of these linked poems is very simple. As stated here on Goodreads:
"Into the Forest and all the Way Through is a collection of true crime poetry that explores the cases of over one hundred missing and murdered women in the United States."
It is that deceptively simple to describe and yet, the emotions Pelayo conveys are impossible to put into words. You feel every bit of pain, sadness, injustice, horror, anger, etc..... She is able to evoke it all in language that flows perfectly. 

Here's the main point though. I don't think this book would ever work as series of essays. IT has to be in poems. These missing women have been written about before and yet, they have still be forgotten and their murders unsolved. Pelayo's poetry makes it clear that she has done the research into the women, their lives, and their deaths, but rather than rattle it all off, she creates poems that get at the emotion of it all.

She asks you to spend time with her words, words she chooses carefully and links together into captivating poems. There is no way this way easy for her to write.

These poems will effect you. You cannot look away. They are participatory and terrifying. They also also 100% real and true. This is not a book for the timid, but it is also a book of truth.

I have been very general here on purpose. This is a book you need to enter when you are ready as a reader. Just its existence is important. And, personally, I read it over a month. I could not sit and consume it in one sitting, but that is a good thing. I spent a little bit of time with it, over time. That made me ponder it more though too.

Redalikes: Novels in verse that deal with social justice issues like Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo are great comp titles. The first is about cycles of violence and the second about a young girl's coming of age in Harlem and the sexual harassment she must constantly deal with.  

But also any true crime that is about female victims, especially unsolved one [and unfortunately too many are about this] like Lost Girls by Robert Kolker. 

However, these true crime books, while popular and well written [the example was a NYT Notable Book], are not going to distill the essence of the pain and feelings as well as Pelayo's poetry collection.

Enter today to win a finished copy of Into The Forest And All The Way Through by Cynthia Pelayo. And then log in to see who wins the Bram Stoker Awards on 5/22.